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No special treatment: fake video of Zuckerberg stays on Instagram

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Instagram will not take down an ultra-realistic “deepfake video” posted Tuesday of Facebook’s chief executive bragging about controlling billions of people’s “stolen” personal data.

“Imagine this for a second: one man with total control of billions of people’s stolen data, all their secrets, their lives, their futures,” a computer-generated Mark Zuckerberg says in the video.

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“I owe it all to Spectre. Spectre showed me that whoever controls the data controls the future.”

The video was shared by British artist “Bill Posters” — a pseudonym — as part of the promotion for his project “Spectre”, which looks at the outsize influence of technology and social media.

“The key issue is to interrogate privacy and the surveillance of our data,” Posters told AFP, asking that his real name not be used to maintain artistic anonymity.

“We wanted to create an artistic intervention into the internet to shine a light on Mark Zuckerberg and explore how data is used in unexpected ways by opaque companies.”

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Posters also welcomed the fact that Instagram was “not going to censor us as artists”.

An Instagram spokesperson earlier said: “We will treat this content the same way we treat all misinformation on Instagram.

“If third-party fact-checkers mark it as false, we will filter it from Instagram’s recommendation surfaces.”

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– #deepfake –

“Spectre”, which is named after the secret villainous organization of the James Bond films, aims to discuss the power of digital influencers and information online, as well as what can or cannot be believed.

According to his website, Posters and fellow artist Daniel Howe teamed up with artificial intelligence start-ups to create “deepfake” videos of celebrities ranging from Kim Kardashian to US President Donald Trump saying ridiculous things.

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Posters and Howe are not trying to trick internet users, as all the videos are labeled with the hashtag #deepfake. But their work shines a light on the proliferation of faked videos online, especially as AI technology advances.

The video of Zuckerberg manipulates an actual statement from the chief executive, and refers to Facebook’s recent controversies over both stolen user data and one such manipulated video.

Facebook recently came under fire for refusing to block the sharing of a video of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that had been doctored to make her appear drunk or impaired.

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Pelosi called on the social media giant to block the video, saying Facebook “knows that this is false”.

Facebook did not remove the video but is quoted in media reports as saying that the video had been tagged as false and sank in the network’s news feed ranking.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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‘Was Ivanka not available?’ Internet ridicules ‘dweeb’ Sean Spicer’s new gig on ‘Dancing With the Stars’

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On Wednesday, Good Morning America reported that Sean Spicer, former White House Press Secretary to President Donald Trump, will be appearing on "Dancing With the Stars."

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How Trump’s limited intellectual development has given him a ‘God complex’

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Trump's lack of respect for the country's long-standing democratic norms and institutions also extends to America's alliances, security arrangements with its allies and friends, and the international order more broadly. To that end  Trump has threatened to remove the U.S. from NATO, hailed the merits of nationalism (while barely pretending that does not mean white nationalism), tried to surrender U.S. security to Russian President Vladimir Putin and proclaimed on numerous occasions that America will now stand (mostly) alone in the world.

This story first ran at Salon in November of 2018. 

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